Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar and World Championship silver winner Jitu Rai on Thursday returned to the national squad after being away for a prolonged period.
Vijay, who claimed a historic silver in the 25m rapid fire pistol event at the 2012 London Olympics, made a comeback to competitive shooting after five years when he participated in the national championships last November at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range here.
The 36-year-old shooter, who is now a deputy superintendent of police in his home state of Himachal Pradesh, had been dogged by a recurring shoulder injury since winning the Olympic medal.
Asian Games gold medallist Rai, 34, took part in the national shooting selection trials at the Madhya Pradesh Academy last month.
In the 50-metre free pistol, Rai, a multiple-time World Cup gold medallist, shot 562 to top the field. He was one point ahead of Saurabh Chaudhary.
Subedar Major Rai, who has been training at the Army Marksman Unit in Mhow, has placed the 2024 Olympics as one of his major goals.
During the 2016 Rio Games, Rai became the first Indian pistol shooter to clear the men’s 10m qualification at the Olympics, but could not live up to the huge expectations in the eight-man final.
In July 2018, Jitu was dropped from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme on grounds of lack of form.
The pistol squad for 2022, which was announced by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) on Thursday, also features the decorated Chaudhary, Anish, Gurpreet Singh, Harpreet Singh, Adarsh Singh and Vijayveer Sidhu among others.
The women's squad comprises Manu Bhaker, Esha Singh, Naamya Kapoor, Rahi Sarnobat, Shri Nivetha P and Rhythm Sangwan, among others.
The federation also announced the rifle squad for the upcoming ISSF World Cup in Baku where the country's pistol shooters are not participating to focus on their training programme that has been designed in advance.
The rifle team for the Baku World Cup features the likes of Anjum Moudgil, Elavenil Valarivan, Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar, Chain Singh, Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil, Deepak Kumar, Paarth Makhija, Sift Kaur Samra and Shreya Agarwal.
While she is not part of the team for the Baku world cup, Mehuli Ghosh, a silver medallist at the World Championships, Youth Olympics and Commonwealth Games, features in the rifle squad for the year.
The tournament in Baku will be held from May 27 to June 7.
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